One of the best things about being an adult is getting to make and eat whatever the heck you want. When I was younger, I imagined that once I got to actually choose what I could eat, I would have a lot of doughnut breakfasts, cookie lunches, and pizza dinners. It only took about two week in college for me to realize the flaws in that plan, but I still love the freedom of cooking for myself, to suit my own tastes.
Cooking for myself means: lots and lots of cheese. Roasted vegetables. A heavy hand with the spices. Polenta everywhere. No mushrooms, hold the eggplant, and don’t even mention the word olive. It means chocolate on a daily basis, spinach smoothies to counteract the chocolate, and sometimes, just a few quick slices of turkey in one hand while running out the door. It also means I add lavender to my hot chocolate, because I’m an adult now and I do what I want.
My friend Danguole just wrote a great post on 10th Kitchen about the “treat yo’self” philosophy of food blogging, which in a nutshell means that as a food blogger, you—I—we—should worry less about what might look “good” for the blog and instead make things that we enjoy eating. And that’s exactly what I did with this Lavender Hot Chocolate!
I know lavender isn’t the most popular flavor. I know that it’s probably on nobody’s top list of hot chocolate flavors they want to drink. As a matter of fact, my brother is here visiting right now, and he told a story about how he accidentally bought a lavender muffin from a bakery, and how it was disgusting and tasted like soap, and once he finished his story, there was an awkward pause and then I said, “Sooooo…. can I offer you some lavender hot chocolate, then?”
But it’s cool, because this is my blog, and my kitchen, and no one ever coined the phrase “treat yo’brother,” am I right?
If you’re a weirdo like me and dig lavender, you need to try it in hot chocolate. I infused the milk and cream with dried lavender for about 30 minutes, to give it a noticeable but not overpowering flavor. For the chocolate portion, I mainly used milk chocolate, which brings a richness and sweetness without the strength or bitterness of dark chocolate that might overwhelm the delicate lavender. A pinch of salt, a dash of vanilla, and I’d crafted the perfect mug of sipping chocolate with a light floral flavor. If this is what it means to be an adult, then it’s better than anything I ever imagined as a child!
- 3 cups milk
- 1 cup cream
- 2 tbsp dried culinary-grade lavender
- 8 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Combine the milk, cream, and lavender in a medium saucepan, and bring it to a simmer. Once at a simmer, remove the pan from the heat and cover it with a lid. Let it sit and steep for 30 minutes, to infuse the milk with lavender flavor. (If you want a very subtle lavender flavor, reduce the time to 20 minutes. For a strong flavor, increase to 40 or 45 minutes.)
- After 30 minutes, pour the milk through a strainer into a bowl to remove the lavender, then return the milk to the saucepan. Put the pan on the heat and bring it back to a simmer, but don’t let it boil. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped milk chocolate, dark chocolate, salt, and vanilla extract.
- Whisk everything together until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream. Lavender Hot Chocolate can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.